It wasn’t the first dead body I’d seen. It was the first one since I’d become pregnant, though, and it was the first sudden, violent death I’d ever witnessed. As a child growing up in a rural village in Alaska, I’d known how to be around death. You could not live on the edge of the Arctic Circle and not feel how intertwined death is with life. But I’d forgotten, separated as I had been for decades from the place I call home. On the verge of bringing a new life into the world and feeling far away from the life I’d known in Alaska, I lingered, hesitating, on the threshold between worlds: the living, the about-to-be-born, and the newly dead.
Angela Chen is now writing a column for us on science, numbers, and assorted nerdery, and I couldn’t be more pleased about it. Read her on the fear of risk, the difficulty of decision-making (especially in relationships), a Freakonomics experiment, and two memorable coin tosses.
“We can start by marveling at these crowds appearing in our midst”: Adam Fleming Petty on the power of crowds and the current political moment.
. . . when I think back on it, it was like I was sitting backstage at a fantastic theater as some sort of costume manager-person, and the writers were streaming by me on their way to the stage and it was my job to duck around and make sure everyone was looking their best before they went out there. It was frantic and exhilarating and really, really great. Sometimes—and you know this from your time at The Toast and now at Catapult—all a writer needs from you is the editorial equivalent of a re-tuck of the shirt. And other times they go by you, and it’s like, “Whoops, that’s an amazing outfit, dearie, but the kilt doesn’t go on your head!” So you get the kilt where it’s supposed to be and send ’em out.